Harmony at Home with Young Children– Living with respect, fun and connection
No matter what living situation we may find ourselves in, whether it be at home as an adult because our finances do not permit us to move out, at home as part of a family or couple or in a shared home with others, it is helpful to be mindful of living with respect and consideration of others and ourselves.
I am not a psychologist or parenting expert, I am a mother who has had the opportunity to learn and grow through all the challenges and rewards that parenting brings. I have done my best to a strong reliable parent and have made lots of mistakes along the way. Like the rest of us I am continuing to learn and grow from these so-called mistakes and to do my best to live with respect, fun and connection. I feel extremely fortunate to be a parent and a daughter too. I am grateful for all the joy, harmony, chaos and learning that being together as family brings and am grateful to you for the opportunity to share what I have found useful.
As a mother of four children I have at times been a little unaware of and slow to adapt to my families’ changing needs and circumstances, as well as my own. We have all had to adjust as we have moved through the different family stages of having young children, adolescents, teens and adults living at home.
I thought it might be helpful to do these two blog posts the first on living with younger children and next week living with teens and adults. I am grateful to you for allowing me to share my experiences with you and to my wonderful family and friends who teach me so much and give me so much joy. .
Living with younger Children
When our children were younger and needed assistance and guidance it was appropriate for me to take charge of the household duties and provide what they needed. However, it may have been more appropriate from the start to involve our children more in household tasks like cooking and cleaning and also not to be so quick to provide them with everything they wanted. Maybe it may have been better to wait a little longer for the latest and greatest ‘i-whatever’ and to be ok with being the ‘only parent in the world’ who did not provide or allow such things.
As parents it is so easy to be seduced into thinking we are being helpful to our children when we indulge them emotionally and materially. We somehow think they will be happy if we provide them with what they want or protect them from suffering disappointment. However, at some level we all know that happiness does not lie in material things, if it did everyone that had all the things they wanted would be happy and we all certainly know that is not the case.
It is also true that attempting to protect our kids from any risk or suffering any disappointment does not help them learn to be resilient and grow from tricky situations. I recently wrote a blog post on dealing with disappointment.
It is important as parents we do our best to communicate openly, honestly and clearly with our children. It is our job as parents to provide appropriate support and guidance to allow our children to develop. Many a time I have barked instructions from one end of the house to the other and become frustrated when what I have asked has not been done immediately. It is much more helpful to communicate face to face and make sure what is being asked for or outlined is realistic, clearly understood and allows for appropriate negotiation which may include logical consequences for not complying.
Boundaries, clear realistic expectations and logical consequences are all really important to allow children to develop and be safe. It is tricky sometimes because as parents we want our kids to be happy and to like us and we think the way to do this is not to enforce restrictions, to give them what they want and to be their friends. However, sometimes, strong love is required to set up clear boundaries, expectations and logical consequences with follow through. This may not make us popular but it will ensure our kids emotional health.
This current generation has been accused of growing up with a sense of entitlement. We can help our children no matter what age avoid developing this unhelpful way of thinking by understanding how it develops. When we emotionally and materially indulge our children, fail to set boundaries and rarely enforce consequences we are encouraging that sense of entitlement, which will lead to unhappiness and disharmony.
As parents, we can help our kids by showing that strong, kind love that does not allow them to hurt themselves. Being strong and reliable as parents is about being respectful, not supporting and attempting to meet unrealistic demands and wants and setting clear fair boundaries with consequences and follow through.
Dame Elisabeth Murdoch is one of my heroes. For me she was a woman who displayed strong love and quiet generosity. Paying tribute to his late mother at a state memorial service Rupert Murdoch said his mother had “taken on the role of disciplinarian in the family because her husband was of uncertain health, much older and given to indulging his children. He went on to say “she pursued that role with none of the angst or self-doubt that consumes so many modern parents. For her love wasn’t soft or mushy it was strong and reliable.”
As a parent of younger children some things I have found useful include;
Have a peaceful, happy week, best wishes and kind regards